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in Reading Market Place



  • The first market in Reading was held in St. Mary's Butts.
  • The Abbey wanted it closer to them. They created a triangular road junction near St. Lawrence's Church in which to hold it.
  • Markets probably began there in the early 13th century. The Guilds set out rules for all the traders in the Market and could fine those who didn't follow them.
  • The Market became the place to punish crimes. People were humiliated by putting them on a platform for people to throw rotten food at. They couldn't run away. They were locked in:
    • Stocks for their feet
    • The Pillory for their head and hands
  • Reading also had a 'ducking-stool'. This was a chair on the end of a long pole. It was used to dunk bad housewives into the Holy Brook or the River Kennet!
  • People who committed crimes against the King were even paraded through the town, like:
  • During the 1688 Battle of Broad Street, many of King James II's Irish troops were stationed in the Market Place but fled when surprised by the Dutch fighting for William III.


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